Former Lankan prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s lawyer has been arrested for attacking protesters.

Former Lankan prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's lawyer has been arrested for attacking protesters.

A lawyer has asked a Sri Lankan court to order the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to arrest seven people, including former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, on charges of criminal intimidation and aiding and abetting an attack on a peaceful protest in front of the Temple Trees and Galle Face earlier this week. A lawyer has filed a personal complaint with the Colombo Magistrate’s Court, seeking that the CID be directed to make the arrests. During violent skirmishes at the Galle Face protest site last Tuesday, more than 100 protestors were injured, prompting a nationwide curfew and an order for the country’s military forces to shoot at sight anyone who plunders public property or causes physical injury.

The recession is attributed to foreign exchange shortages caused by a fall in tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as reckless economic policies, like the government’s move last year to ban chemical fertilizers in a bid to make Sri Lanka’s agriculture “100 per cent organic”. Amid the political and economic crisis, the leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa who had earlier demanded the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa before assuming Prime Ministership, has written an open letter to the President that he is ready to assume the office of Prime Minister of Sri Lanka if Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigns within a stipulated time after Premadasa assuming office.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, who recently tendered his resignation from the position of the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, has been barred from leaving the country by a local court. The travel ban has also been imposed on Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son and former Minister Namal Rajapaksa, Johnston Fernando, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, C B Rathnayake, Sanath Nishantha, and Sanjeewa Edirimanne, among others. Mahinda Rajapaksa and some of his family members were shifted to Trincomalee Naval Base, a day after he resigned following violent protests that led to a nationwide curfew. Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since independence with food and fuel shortages, soaring prices and power cuts affecting a large number of the citizens, resulting in massive protests over the government’s handling of the situation.

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